A number of people have been asking me for blogging advice lately, so I thought I’d toss together a quick list of tips I’ve learned from others that have been really helpful for me.
Step 1: Stop trying to sound like someone else.
So you’ve read a bunch of blog posts right? And you’ve been wanting to share your thoughts about a topic you’re passionate about. The biggest mistake I see people make when they’re getting started is that they try to adopt someone else's voice. Be yourself. Write the way you speak.
People who know me well say they actually hear my voice when they read the posts. If you meet me in real life, you’ll find that you already know me pretty well through my writing.
Step 2: Don’t get caught up in editing—stop stalling and hit publish.
Insider info: A majority of bloggers, even the best bloggers on earth, were terrible when they started. You improve as you go. Blogging is like any other skill. You need to practice to get better. I look back through my early posts and cringe. My posts now aren’t amazingly incredible, but they’re def better than they were when I first started.
99% of the people I talk to who want to start blogging tell me that they have written tons of posts but they don’t think “they’re good enough” so they don’t publish them. Don’t get so far into your own head that you chicken out. Just hit publish.
Worst case scenario, you can just edit the post AFTER you publish it. (I do this CONSTANTLY.)
Step 3: If you’re still a little freaked out by editing, just read your post out loud to yourself (or your pet, or sig other, or kid or a misc stranger on the bus).
When you edit your own work on screen, you tend to read what you meant, not what you actually wrote. Reading a piece out loud will help you identify a crazy number of things you don’t notice when you’re trying to edit on screen.
My fur baby Chester knows more about UX and design than any other Bichon Frise on the planet. But again, when you’re done editing, HIT PUBLISH! (I know I’ve mentioned that repeatedly, but seriously… just do it.)
Step 4: Don’t get discouraged and quit if you don’t end up with a huge following after your first blog post.
Gaining a readership takes time. Folks don’t end up with a large audience immediately after their first blog post. Just keep writing.
Step 5: Don’t obsess about what people are going to think of you if your article isn’t the best one they’ve ever read.
How often do you remember the name and face of a person whose article you read? If the person blogs regularly and you’re mega into their style, or the type of content they publish, you may. But think of the hundreds of other articles you’ve read. Do you remember every name and every face? Unless you have a photographic memory, I’m going with probably not. So don’t panic. If your first articles are rough, it’s ok.
Step 6: In the event that you do get trolled, don’t even bother responding—they’re baiting you.
You know those people that are just unbelievably obnoxious? The best blogging advice I’ve ever gotten was to completely ignore them. Don’t even bother to engage with the trolls. There’s a HUGE difference between constructive feedback and a person with no life who surfs around looking for people to harass and pick fights with. They live to fight with people they don’t know while hiding behind a screen. So rise above by ignoring them completely. They’ll eventually get bored and go away. They’re pathetic, and you’re not. You win. Keep moving.
If you decide to take the plunge and start blogging please hit me up on Twitter at @jma245 — I’d love to hear about it!